Down The Coulonge – Day 8: From Die Hard (Km 81) to Rapides Enrages (Km 60)

Previous Post – Day 7:  Km 99 to “Die Hard” Rapids (Km 81)

  • distance: 20 km
  • time:  start – 9:15 a.m. ; finish – 1:15 p.m.
  • portages/rapids: 1/2
    • – W-R47 C1 50m
    • – W-R48 C1 100m PRR 475m “Enragés”
  • weather: Initially overcast then graced with a torrential downpour. Sun in the p.m. – go figure!!
  • campsite: CRCS08 at end of lane from logging/access road; room for multiple 2-person tents and perhaps 2 or 3 – 4-person tents.

See Wilson Map 10 insert for portage and campsite location

cr_d08a

Across from our Die Hard campsite was a stretch of beach that looked like it might have a campsite above it.  We paddled across to check it out. While we found  a couple of artifacts on the beach there was no campsite or even a level spot to make one.

beach - complete with toilet facilities - on river left below Die Hard Rapids

beach – complete with toilet facilities!  – on river left below Die Hard Rapids

At about 10 a.m. it started raining.  At first it was stop and start drizzle and perhaps in response to our “Will you make up your mind already!” it started pouring heavily.

the rain starts coming down - softly at first

the rain starts coming down – softly at first

It was such a torrential downpour that we pulled into a small cove and pulled out the 10’x14′ tarp and covered the gear in the middle of the canoe as well as ourselves.  We sat there  and listened to the rain drops battering the silnylon but at least we were mostly dry.

looking out at the downpour from under the 10'x14' tarp

looking out at the downpour from under the  tarp

under the tarp in a torrential downpour that last 30 minutes

looking back at Max under the tarp in a torrential downpour that lasted 30 minutes

Thirty minutes later it was over – reduced to a few occasional sprinkles – and we continued on our way down the river.  We were impressed by the kilometer after kilometer of deep sand banks.  It really drove home the character of the Coulonge River as the result of a channel cut through a massive glacial sand deposit thanks to the end of the most recent Ice Age about 10,000 years ago.

the sand banks of the Coulonge before Les Rapides Enragés

sand-and-more-sand-on-the-coulolnge

By 12:30 or so – we had not even had lunch yet! – we came to the top of the portage trail around the Rapides Enragés. We did the carry to the other end of the portage and found a wide open clearing at the bottom of a lane that  came down to the river. On the plus side, we were surrounded by some beautiful white pines and the river was a short walk away.  We were a bit taken aback when a teen male on an ATV came ripping down to the open area where our tent was but after he turned around and left that would be it for unexpected visitors!

Rapides Enragés cap site - tent up by 2 p.m.

Rapides Enragés cap site – tent up by 2 p.m.

old white pine by our Rapidés Enragés camp site

old white pine by our Rapides Enragés camp site

our closest encounter with Coulonge wildlife

our closest encounter with Coulonge wildlife

Tent up and lunch done we put some stuff out on the rocks to dry.  Later we walked back up to the top of the rapids.  Along the way we left the trail to get closer to the cascade of water coming down the right side of the island in the middle of the rapids. Here is some of what we focussed our lenses on as we enjoyed the short (at least for us) day and the extra time to just sit or walk around  and enjoy the river and the rapids.

looking up at the Rapides Enragés from the bottom

looking up at the Rapides Enragés from the bottom

Rapides Enragés main channel - final chutes at the bottom

Rapides Enragés main channel – final chutes at the bottom

rocks and water at Rapides Enragés

rocks and water at Rapides Enragés

boreal forest floor - along the portage trail at Les Rapides Enrages

boreal forest floor – along the portage trail at Les Rapides Enrages

view of the falls on the right channel of les Rapides Enragés

view of the falls on the right channel of les Rapides Enragés

Up at the top of the rapids is a side set of waterfalls.  I took the above shot at 1/80 sec. and then put on both a polarizer and a neutral density filter to slow things down a bit for the shot  below – 1/3 sec – to get a smoother look to the water tumbling over the rock.  I now wish I would have made the contrast even more dramatic with an initial 1/400 or so shot!  More than anything else I just remember the feeling of sitting there on the side of the rapids with my tripod and thinking – “We are so lucky to be here – to be able to be here!”

view of the waterfallls on right channel of Rapides Enragés

view of the waterfalls on right channel of Rapides Enragés

The next day we would again follow our new Coulonge rule –  that is,  Thou shalt camp by rapids and waterfalls.  To do so we would make even less progress – a mere 17 km. The reward was the best campsite of the trip – the one at the top of Chute A L’Ours/Bear Falls!

Next Post – Day 9: From Rapides Enragés (Km 60) To Chute A L’Ours (Km 43)

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